How to adult: The basics

Posted on Tuesday, April 6, 2021

 Work, health and finances

Learning to be a well-adjusted, functioning adult isn’t something that happens overnight — or when we become of drinking age. It’s about learning lessons from the constant challenges life throws at us, about maturing through adversity, becoming the best version of ourselves and learning to enjoy life while making a difference for others.

That’s the big picture. Let’s just talk now about the annoying stuff, the nagging stuff, the “I put this 15-minute task off for three months” type of stuff. So here are some tips about things that might seem boring or complicated.

Start by decluttering your life

One of the key aspects of adjusting your life is to get the small and tedious chores out of the way as soon as you can and saying no to procrastination. Start by organizing your environment. Whether it’s your desk, closet or computer, organize and take care of the things you need. Once you build your list of items to keep in order, start those (potentially annoying) chores early in the day to get them over with. Spend more time getting things done and less worrying about putting them off and letting it pile up.

This goes not only for chores but for your adult responsibilities as well.  A good rule of thumb is if it takes less than five minutes, you can easily get it done now!

Get in the habit of taking charge of your health

Perhaps the easiest thing to start doing and the one we think about least is seeing a doctor. It’s not something most healthy young people concern themselves with, but it’s always better to be preventive than reactive with your health. At the very least, get a yearly check-up at whichever clinic you have access to.

As a uOttawa student, you can receive care at the ByWard Family Health Team clinic. Learn more about the ByWard Family Health Team, including signing up for a family doctor.

At some point, though, you’re also going to have to start booking appointments with an optometrist, psychotherapist, dentist or physiotherapist. You may feel intimidated by the initial booking process, but it’s as simple as just walking in with your health card and information from past hospital visits or calling them.

With texts and email, some of us have come to dread telephone calls. However, it’s important to note that a 15-minute phone call could save you three or four days of waiting for the same information.

Learn about your finances

One thing that may put you off as far as the booking an appointment thing goes is insurance. What’s covered, what isn’t, etc. It all seems very intimidating at first, but again, the best thing to do is call the right people. In this case, it would most likely be whichever clinic you plan on going to.

Currently, uOttawa students are covered for health care benefits through the University of Ottawa Students’ Union. Learn more about your coverage and the cost of your plan.  Coverage for things like dental care, prescription medication, ambulance fees, eyeglasses and physiotherapy requires an addition to your basic health care plan. These services may also be covered by your employer when you start your career after university. Not a bad thing to keep in mind when asking questions to a potential employer.

Taxes and student loans are other important financial matters to consider. For your taxes, you may already be familiar with dropping off your forms to your accountant or your parents, but you can always develop a bit of financial know-how yourself to save money. It’s more tedious than complicated.

For your student loan, make sure to keep an eye on your OSAP or NSLSC account to know when your payments are due and when they’re starting to collect interest after you’re no longer in school.

Make a budget

Taking the time to make a reasonable budget can be extremely useful in the long run. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Collect your receipts and your monthly expenses for the previous two months.
  • Add them up along with your utility and monthly bills (rent, phone bill, hydro, streaming services, etc.)
  • Add up all your monthly income.
  • Compare what you’re spending and what you’re earning.
  • Divide your expenses into categories and adjust as you see fit.

Sticking to a budget is more challenging than making one. However, with some of that adulthood tenacity you’ve now developed, it should be no problem!

These four areas of adult responsibilities are a first step to becoming more independent and self-sufficient. If you’re looking to make that jump to true adulthood beyond what we’ve mentioned here, we recommend having a conversation with the current adult support group you have, such as your parents, and working with them to help become as self-reliant as you can! Parents have been through this transition themselves and can provide even more assistance or tips.

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